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Credit the 1960 film Where the Boys Are for catapulting sleepy Lauderdale environs onto that era's Haute List for spring-fling campus escape. The movie depicted college students—upward of 20,000 of them—swarming into town for the spring-break phenomenon. By 1985 the 20,000 had mushroomed to 350,000. Hotel owners bemoaned students cramming into standard-size hotel rooms by the dozen, with civility hitting new lows. Drug trafficking and petty theft proliferated, along with downscale bars staging wet T-shirt and banana-eating contests. Fed up, city leaders cracked down with policies designed to encourage spring breakers to go elsewhere. They did, ushering in a new era attracting a far more sophisticated, affluent crowd.
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